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7 Ways to Save on Health Expenses

Here's how to spend less without compromising your care

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1. Medical ally

If medical bills are driving you crazy, consider hiring a medical billing advocate. For a percentage-based fee, a medical billing specialist will review your health care bills and challenge questionable charges.

2. Free meds

Ask your doctor about prescription samples.

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3. Eye care

If you're 65 or older, you may qualify to have a volunteer ophthalmologist perform a comprehensive medical eye exam and provide up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost. Visit EyeCareAmerica.org.

4. Do yoga

It's good for both your body and your mind. Look for free classes in September and October, and find a studio near you. Check yogamonth.org.

5. Transfer credit

Transfer prescriptions to a new grocery or drugstore when it offers a gift card for store credit, and use that to pay for your purchases.

6. Skip the ER

You don't need the emergency room if you have non-life-threatening medical issues, such as fevers, cuts, minor burns or headaches. A more affordable alternative is a walk-in urgent care center, open seven days a week, no appointments necessary. Search "urgent care centers" online to find those near you.

7. Free tests

Get basic health tests by attending free health fairs in your area. You can find one online by searching under "free health fairs."

Contributors to 99 Great Ways to Save 2013: Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Tara Finnegan Coates, Joan Rattner Heilman, Stacy Julien, Megan Lawson, Marlece Lusk, Bob Lyford, Anne Masters, Jeff Yeager and AARP members like you.

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